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Undergraduate Research Program
in the Transnational Production and Consumption of Dress and Fashion

For Majors and Minors in Women and Gender Studies and Textiles and Clothing. If you are seeking more opportunities to do independent research or creative work under the guidance of a professor, this program is for you.

Fashion is situated at the center of burning issues that inextricably connect mass-mediated cultural representation, identity construction, design aesthetics, global trade and production, and professional and consumer ethics. While moralistic discourses dismiss it as trivial, fashion is both one of the major forms of aesthetic expression and identity construction in daily life, and a major object of disavowed obsession in our culture. In terms of production practices and treatment of garment producers, fashion is an urgent social and ethical issue.

Organized around the subject of the production and consumption of fashion, this program offers students instruction and guidance in doing research projects or video production on an array of topics: dress, textiles and body arts; constructions of race, gender, sexuality, class and nationality; subcultures and alternative identities; critiques of media and systems of representation; alternative media production and alternative modes of representing women’s bodies; the globalization of fashion production, working conditions and organizing struggles of garment workers’. You can approach the Fashion Research Program as a 1-, 2-, 3- or 4-year program. The program accepts applications throughout the academic year.

Fashion Conference Information:
Conference 2007 Overview

Free Style: The Fashion Fusion of Producer, Consumers and You

2005 Conference schedule


Fashion Program Information:
Course Requirements for Fashion Research Program

About the Fashion Research Program's Presidential Chair Grant



For questions regarding the Fashion Research Program please contact:

Professor Susan Kaiser or Professor Leslie Rabine

This research program is funded through a Presidential Chair grant from the office of the Vice-Provost of Undergraduate Studies.

We both love and hate fashion, just as we love and hate late capitalism itself... (Wilson, E. 1985. p. 14)
Today, the overwhelming majority of garment workers in the U.S. are immigrant women. They typically toil 60 - 80 hours a week in front of their machines, often without minimum wage or overtime pay. In fact, the Department of Labor estimates that more than half of the country's 22,000 sewing shops violate minimum wage and overtime laws. Many of these workers labor in dangerous conditions including blocked fire exits, unsanitary bathrooms, and poor ventilation. Government surveys reveal that 75% of U.S. garment shops violate safety and health laws. In addition, workers commonly face verbal and physical abuse and are intimidated from speaking out, fearing job loss or deportation.